Gordon, AFP clash over troop positioning

Conflict has developed between civilian negotiators and the military over the repositioning of troops pursuing Abu Sayyaf bandits holding Red Cross workers in Sulu.

In an interview with ANC’s Top Story on Thursday, Senator Richard Gordon accused a military general of jeopardizing negotiations for the release of at least one of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hostages.

Gordon claimed Task Force Comet chief Brigadier General Juancho Sabban ordered a pull-back of the troops despite an initial order by Armed Forces chief Alexander Yano for the troops to stay put.

“Yan si Sabban dapat imbistigahan. Gumawa ng preliminary pullout without telling Yano, and he’s blaming Puno and myself. Di ko na sana papatulan yan pero buhay ang pinaguusapan ditto,” said Gordon, who is also chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross.

Gordon is urging the military leadership to discipline Sabban.

Meantime, Yano said the military was not jeopardizing the effort to secure the release of the hostages

“The prime objective is the safe rescue and recovery of the hostages. The military option is part of the options, but it’s the final option–if all else fails,” he said.

“The troops are still in their position…We will make necessary adjustments on the ground if this will enable peaceful options for the safe recovery of hostages.”


Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm  Comments Off on Gordon, AFP clash over troop positioning  
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